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AAC


LEGAL CORNER


unopposed constitutional officers (which are virtually al- ways contested) and General Assembly candidates back on the ballot. I believe this bill will have a minimal impact on the ballot length, putting at most five or six names back on the ballot, rather than adding 10 additional screens of 50 or more names that the voter would have to scroll through. I am grateful the sponsors and county clerks were willing to reach this reasonable compromise. Act 545 was an attempt to remedy the recent trend of


uncertainty and inconsistency of the primary election date. In 2015, the General Assembly temporarily moved the 2016 presidential primary election date from May to March so the state could participate in the “SEC primary,” also known as “Super Tuesday,” the date the greatest number of states hold primary elections. Tis move was seen as giving Arkan- sas a louder voice in deciding who the parties’ nominations for president would be. Ten in 2017, the effort to move the primary election date to March permanently failed. Act 545 was the compromising result of lawmakers wanting to be part of the SEC primary in March on presidential years, yet avoid the early winter/holiday season campaigning by


keeping the primary election in May on non-presidential, gubernatorial election years. Te change every two years will certainly take some getting used to, but I hope the public as well as election officials will acclimate to the change, and that it will remain consistent going forward. Finally, the legislature sought to increase transparency in the elections process. Act 888 allows the State Board of Elec- tion Commissioners to perform audits post-election on vot- ing equipment to ensure integrity in the elections process. Tere were other elections-related issues the General Assem- bly did not have the opportunity to adequately address. Many of these issues will be studied in the interim with the oppor- tunity for legislation in the 2021 General Session. Rep. Justin Boyd filed Interim Study Proposal 2019-079 to be sent to the House State Agencies Committee to study elections-related issues including, but not limited to: election administration and process, technological upgrades, security and safety mea- sures, methods to improve the initiative and referendum pro- cess, inconsistent terminology in the law, streamlined election dates, cost efficiency, absentee voting, voting hours, and voter registration through Revenue Offices.


COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019


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